This article is the first of a four part series evaluating rosters around the NFL. This article will evaluate three teams which went to AFC Championship games twice and includes one Super Bowl champion, one Super Bowl loser, and six final-four AFC teams. The idea is to evaluate teams which are succeeding and make observations on their roster.
This article will examine the following teams: 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers vs 2016 Steelers, 2015 New England Patriots vs 2018 Patriots, and the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs vs 2021 Chiefs. In 2010, Pittsburgh won the AFC title game, then lost in the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers. The 2016, Steelers returned to the AFC Championship game and lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
The 2015 New England team lost the AFC Championship game to the Denver Broncos. The Patriots returned to the AFC title game in 2018 and beat the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs team. The 2018 Chiefs team will be compared to the 2021 Kansas City team, which lost the conference title game to Cincinnati Bengals. The Chiefs went to two Super Bowls in a row 2019-2020, including one Super Bowl win.
Over a seven year period, the Steelers teams which made two NFL final-four appearances had only six players in common on the 53 player roster. The New England teams which made two NFL final-four appearances and won a Super Bowl had 17 players in common over the four year period. The Chiefs teams have achieved four consecutive AFC final-four appearances, two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl win have 17 players in common on their roster over a 4 year stretch.
Steelers comparison- Wikipedia as my source for the roster.
This is what two rosters looked like side by side, with yellow highlights being the players on both rosters. SIX Players overlapped 2 teams, 7 years apart 2010 to 2016.
The detailed comparison, zoomed in for detail. One QB and one WR common, seven seasons apart. No RBs overlapped the team, seven seasons apart.
One TE and one offensive linemen overlapped the two Pittsburgh teams.
The defense had ONE player on common on the two rosters, seven seasons apart. In addition one special teams player overlapped the two Steeler teams.
Patriots comparison- Wikipedia as my source for the roster.
This is what two rosters looked like side by side, with yellow highlights being the players on both rosters. 17 players overlapped the two teams, 4 seasons apart. Three of those players are special teams players.
Here is the detailed analysis by position groups. One QB and one RB overlapped the two New England teams (four years apart).
Two WRs and One TE overlapped the 2 rosters.
Four offensive lineman overlapped the two Patriot teams.
Five defensive players were common between the two New England teams.
As stated previously, the Patriots had the same three special teams players among the 17 players which overlapped the rosters, four seasons apart.
Chiefs comparison- Wikipedia as my source for the roster.
This is what two rosters looked like side by side, with yellow highlights being the players on both rosters. 17 players overlapped the two teams, 4 seasons apart. Two of those players are special teams players.
Here is the detailed breakdown. Two quarterbacks and one running back overlapped the two rosters.
Three WRs and one TE overlapped the two teams.
One offensive lineman overlapped the two rosters.
Five front seven players (Defensive linemen and linebackers) overlapped the two rosters.
Two defensive backs and two special teams players overlapped the two teams.
Conclusion: An NFL team has 53 active roster spots, 22 of these spots are starters. Even teams competing at the highest levels are turning over 36 of the roster spots four years apart, and nearly the whole roster six years apart. In four years, which 17 players on current Bills team will still be playing for Buffalo?
The next analysis will be analyzing 32 teams from 2017 to 2021 and looking for roster trends relative to team performance.